May 10, 2019
Press Release
The Preserving Overseas Immigration Services Act Requires Congressional Approval Prior to the Closure or Consolidation of USCIS Overseas Field Offices

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04) introduced legislation to prevent the Department of Homeland Security from closing Citizenship and Immigration Services offices overseas without the consent of Congress. The Preserving Overseas Immigration Services Act would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to receive the approval of relevant House and Senate committees in order to close or consolidate any of these critical offices.

“Closing USCIS offices overseas is simply a veiled attempt to reduce legal immigration and another example of President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. The critical work of helping refugees and asylum seekers, as well as Americans who are adopting children abroad cannot be effectively achieved without these offices,” said Representative García.

“The Trump Administration will stop at nothing to make it harder for immigrants to come to the United States legally and closing these offices would only serve to make the process more difficult for individuals and families. USCIS offices overseas are critical in our efforts to process refugee and asylum cases and have proven to be an invaluable resource to Americans who are adopting children from abroad. They also help servicemembers who are seeking to petition for legal status for foreign-born spouses and work hard to combat fraud,” said Representative Espaillat.

“As President Trump continues to wage war against refugees and asylum seekers, his policies have only become more abrasive and incoherent and have left the Department of Homeland Security in a state of utter chaos. Closing our USCIS field offices will not only hurt families fleeing violence and persecution, but it will further overwhelm our ports of entry. We should be investing in these resources, not eliminating them,” said Representative Rice.

In a letter to the Appropriations Committee earlier this year, Reps. Espaillat and Garcia requested specific language in the committee’s report opposing the closure of USCIS international field offices and asking for additional resources to keep USCIS fully operational..

To date, the Preserving Overseas Immigration Services Act has been endorsed by the American Federation of Government Employees, Church World Service, International Refugee Assistance Project, and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.